Love towards your passion! These are the only four words that will come to your mind after reading the following journey of Dr. Ranjana Tewari, the Head of Department of Mangalayatan University.
As a way of life, her family has passed down the love for teaching generation after generation. And at present, Dr. Tewari has coupled her love for teaching with the field of agriculture.
Read this educational influencer’s journey in her own words.
Please introduce yourself and your journey as an educator to our readers and also tell us what inspired you to pursue agriculture studies as a career?
Hello readers, I am Dr. Ranjana, a Researcher, an Educator, Plant Breeder, and Floriculturist. I am presently holding the position of Head of Department in Agriculture at Mangalayatan University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. I graduated from GBPUAT, Pantnagar in agriculture, did my Masters and Ph. D in Genetics & Plant Breeding from AAIDU, Prayagraj, and NDUAT, Faizabad, respectively. I have also worked in CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow. For the past ten years, I have been actively working in the field of research and education.
Though I am a lifetime student and I always love to learn, but I enjoy teaching others, even more, it’s in the family. Getting to know all of the different kids and interacting with them. I have always loved kids, so I always enjoy that part of my job. I think every teacher wants to have a long-lasting effect on their students and live forever in the form of their teachings.
I have learned that agriculture doesn’t require hundreds of books to mug up; rather, it needs passion and determination. To pursue a carrier in agriculture is not easy; one has to love the soil and nature, needs the courage to get the hands dirty for food and witness the miracle of crop life.
It’s part of our culture and tradition achieved through hard work via uniting people. The kind of positive impact that one can make to education, society, and agriculture sector simultaneously by pursuing agriculture as a carrier fascinated me to take agriculture as a carrier. As there is no more noble task than that of being able to feed the hunger, whether it’s for food or knowledge.
Pertaining to your experience of 10 years in the education sector, how, according to you, has the curriculum for agriculture studies improved over time?
During the past 10 years, agricultural education has expanded rapidly and explored the new areas of agriculture and allied sectors to meet the global demand for human resources and agricultural technology. Agriculture being a professional degree, the ICAR has made it more careers oriented by curricula changes for different undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in India. The new curricula recommendation by the fifth Dean’s Committee for the undergraduate courses with the aim to produce agricultural graduates with a strong background in modern science, value-added courses and skill development courses with important features of Rural Agricultural Work Experience (RAWE) to impart practical training in farmers’ fields, Plant clinic. Agro-industrial experiences, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, watershed management, agriculture journalism, etc.
Tell us more about Mangalayatan University with regard to your department specifically.
Mangalayatan University is a “Gurukul of Global Education.” Here, we work towards a fine blend of values and global professional talents in the making of leaders for the future. The Department of Agriculture was established in 2018 under the Institute of Engineering & Technology and is strengthened with competent faculty, supporting infrastructure, and seventy-five Acre land. The primary focus of our curriculum is to impart technical knowledge to students, exposure to latest industry practices through several industrial visits, training during their course to have adequate exposure in tackling live problems encountered in working of the industrial entity.
To be the leading centre providing student responsive education, farmer responsive training and services for agriculture development and agro-industry.
- To train students to be skilled professional, with the hunger and ability to become leaders
- To bring global best practices to our students through the widespread use of technology
- To empower our faculty to constantly develop new skills and excel professionally
- To provide the best campus environment to students and faculty with all facilities to nurture their interests
What is your opinion on the inclusion of technology and smart devices in studying and /or researching within agriculture, and other mediums of education?
Teaching-learning aids like instructional use of computers, television, mobiles, internet and other kinds of electronic hardware and software play a key role in the understanding of the subjects to students as well as to the teacher. The amalgamation of smart teaching-learning technologies also has an important role in agriculture extension as it enhances the effect with ease for the lab to land programmes.
The Agriculture faculty and researchers who conduct research and teach courses prefer educational technology uses more over conventional methods of teaching because it integrates process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, the organization for analyzing problems, devising, implementing evaluating and managing solutions to field problems, in situations in which learning is purposive and controlled.
As an educator, what challenges have you faced while building a career in the education domain?
The biggest challenge always comes from the students and how their understanding can be enhanced, no matter how much knowledge you have, but how much and how better you can make them understand the topic is always a challenge as every mind is different and respond to every topic is different.
I began my career in research but sooner, I realized an educator inside me with a vision and believed for future innovative agriculture and skill-based smart education the world requires. So, I switched my job to college and then finally to university as an educator.
Following the zeal of learning by doing to achieve excellence as excellence brings success took me to the present position of HOD. For the first time, the Mangalayatan university started the department of agriculture under my headship. Thus, it’s the will that helps you overcome all the challenges.
What would you advise to those aspiring to study agricultural science?
Agriculture not only promises well-paying government or private jobs after degree completion but also provides the satisfaction of working in the field, Agriculture doesn’t require hundreds of books to mug up rather needs passion and determination. To pursue a career in agriculture is not easy; one has to love the soil and nature, needs the courage to get the hands dirty for food and witness the miracle of crop life being part of our culture and tradition. So, “live your passion and culture together.”
Where do you see yourself in the near future?
I see myself and the Agriculture department of Mangalayatan University as a world leader in the field of innovative smart agriculture especially in crop improvement and exploring new areas of innovative agriculture like post-harvest agriculture management and smart agriculture technology etc.